View Full Version : Politico editor John Harris: Voters are stupid

03-14-2012, 07:03 PM
byCharlie Spiering Commentary Staff Writer
Last night on Politico's live-stream election show, Politico editor-in-chief John Harris highlighted a provocative Politico story about "stupid voters."

The Politico article by reporter Alexander Burns examines poll numbers from voters who still think Obama might be a Muslim, believe that the president can change gas prices, and appear to have conflicting opinions about the war in Afghanistan.

The article quotes Tom Jensen of the Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling who admits, “The first lesson you learn as a pollster is that people are stupid. . . I tell a client trying to make sense of numbers on a poll that are inherently contradictory that at least once a week.”

Harris said the story grew out of one of his "personal rants" sparking debate in the newsroom with the editors over the headline, which Harris said he wanted to be "provocative."

"They didn't want the sharpest headline -- 'Are voters stupid?' or switch to the order of the verb 'Voters are stupid., Harris said, "I think we want something a little more neutral. . .the debate was whether to go with the sharpest possible headline or a more muted one."

Harris added that voters were "expressing their opinions in a context of ignorance" which means that pollsters get results that "seem stupid even have the voters themselves actually aren't stupid."

The headline for the piece ended up being, "How much do voters know?" and featured a picture of Forrest Gump.

"I felt I won this debate in part because we did get a picture of Forrest Gump to accompany the story," Harris said. "Forrest Gump in this case representing the sort of ignorant voters who are saying these wacky things in polls."

Harris was clear enjoying his onscreen rant, and afterwards read his email address (jharris@politico.com) on the air so that people could respond.


ralph wiggum
03-14-2012, 07:28 PM
Why is he slandering Democrats like that?

03-14-2012, 08:11 PM
Considering the conventional wisdom is that the campaign which spends the most money wins the election, I think there has to be truth here. Maybe a better question would be: Do most voters form their opinion passively based on what they happen to read, or form their opinion actively by researching subjects and trying to tune out agenda-driven noise? But that's a lot less snappy.

03-14-2012, 08:18 PM
Was this ever in doubt?

03-14-2012, 08:27 PM
Was this ever in doubt?

^ This.

03-14-2012, 09:51 PM
President Starbuck would require a license to vote. The test would not be easy.

03-14-2012, 10:37 PM
Why is he slandering Democrats like that?

It's not slander if it's true. Democrats are stupid.